christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

deuteronomy 21:10-23:14, seventh commandment chiastic structure

Read Deuteronomy 21:10-23:14 at Bible Gateway.

Previously: deuteronomy 22:30-23:8, the integrity of the assembly

(Please review the teaching tools of scripture, especially the Hebrew paragraph divisions and chiastic structures. The paragraphs marked by an “s” at their close are weak paragraphs, which indicate a change of facet but not a change of theme or topic. The paragraphs marked by a “p” at their close are strong paragraphs, which indicate the completion of a theme or topic. The paragraph divisions reveal the chiastic structures: narratives which zero in on the main point of the narrative at its center, like a bull’s eye at the center of a target. The main point is revealed, because the narrative elements before the main point (or central axis) are repeated after the central axis, in reverse order, while the central axis itself is not repeated.)

Deu 23:9-14 is the last section explaining Do not commit adultery, the seventh commandment. The seventh commandment is explained in Deu 21:10-23:14, and this is my summary of it. The Hebrew paragraph divisions are:

Deu 23:9-14 {s} Holiness in the army camp

This seems to have little to do with our topic. But then, this section provides the end section for the complex chiastic structure formed by the seventh commandment:

Deu 21:10-23:14
1a) Deu 21:10-11, When you go out against your enemies + conduct in the army camp;
1b) Deu 21:12-13b, Lawful union with the captive woman;
1c) Deu 21:14 s, If no delight in her then set her free + you have humbled her (sanctity of marital intimacy);
1d) Deu 21:15-21 s+s, Preserve the integrity of the next generation:
– 1d.1) Deu 21:15-17 {s} Treatment of the unloved wife;
– 1d.2) Deu 21:18-21 s, You shall put away the evil of the rebellious son;
1e) Deu 21:15-21 s+s, Preserve the integrity of the next generation;
1f) Deu 21:22-23 {s} Treatment of the executed criminal (do not defile the land);
central axis) Deu 22:1-4 s+s, Treatment of a neighbor’s lost animals/ burdened animals (love your neighbor as your brother);
2f) Deu 22:5 {s} Sanctity of gender distinction (do not defile the land);
2e) Deu 22:6-12 sx4, Preserve the integrity of the next generation (chiastic structure central axis);
2d) Deu 22:13-27 sx5, Preserve the integrity of the next generation:
– 2d.1) Deu 22:13-19 s, Treatment of the unloved wife;
– 2d.2) Deu 22:20-27 sx4, You shall put away the evil of the adulterous spouse;
2c) Deu 22:13-29 sx6, You shall not divorce her + you have humbled her (sanctity of marital intimacy);
2b) Deu 22:30-23:8 sx5, Unlawful unions/ assembly membership prohibited;
2a) Deu 23:9-14 s, When the army goes out against your enemies + holiness in the army camp.

The repeating theme of preserving the next generation runs throughout the explanation of the seventh commandment; it can be seen that one of the major reasons for seventh commandment is because of its impact on the next generation, the fruit of the marital union.

Another repeating phrase is “he has humbled her.” I just think it is wisdom, that if anyone desires to preserve their marital happiness, they might be careful to honor and appreciate their spouse, and not humble them. We are called to humble someone: ourselves. But if someone else needs humbling, it is better to leave it to God, He knows what He is doing.

The central axis is the key to the command, Do not commit adultery (preserve the sanctity of marital intimacy). Love. Kindness. Unselfish good deeds. Treat each other that way every day, and your marital intimacy will be preserved and will be a source of joy.

Continued: deuteronomy 23:15-24:7, do not steal


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